Thursday, June 30, 2005

Yes Nukes

I saw a news item today that annoyed the piss out of me. Now, I don’t subscribe to that Liberal Media Bias crap, but I do feel that sometimes they sensationalize stuff and don’t give out all the facts.

Case in point, a report came out today that says radiation, even in small doses, can increase the risk of cancer. It was primarily aimed at those that work in the nuclear power and nuclear medicine industries. The supposed increase in risk was 1 to 2 percent.

Now, I worked in the nuclear power industry for 5 years as a nuclear power officer in my Navy days. I know a lot about radiation, how it affects people, and dosages. The dosage you receive from working around the reactor is carefully measured and reported every month. You wear a detector that measures the amount of gamma radiation, as that is the most harmful type. As long as you’re wearing clothing, there is nearly no risk from alpha or beta radiation. In the 5 years I worked in the nuclear power industry, I received less than 30 mrem of radiation. To put this into perspective for the non scientific types, this is less radiation than you would get from receiving a really bad sunburn.

In other words, the nuclear industry is so regulated, that you have a higher risk from radiation from every day living than operating a power plant. A couple of chest x-rays would give you more exposure than 20 years in the industry. As another example, there was more natural background radiation in the natural spring water available in Saratoga Springs, NY that we discharged from the reactor plant as waste. But you don’t see that on the news, do you. Doesn’t make for good headlines.

The report recommended not getting too many x-rays, not flying at high altitudes too much, etc. So again, being a frequent flyer gives you more risk than operating a nuclear power plant.

People have way too many misconceptions about nuclear power. It is POTENTIALLY dangerous, yes, but there are so many safeguards involved that the risk is minimal. Even the “biggest” nuclear accident in the US, Three Mile Island, wasn’t even that big a discharge of radiation. And studies of cancer in the area of the plant show no statistical deviation from other areas on the cancer rate. Again, so much for the facts.

I can’t stand it when news organizations scare people over this issue. I’ve seen too many reporters try to make a name for themselves in the local areas around nuclear facilities by sensationalizing their existence and trying to make them sound unsafe when they are not.

Right Man for the Job

Update - Holy shit! I hadn't linked Nanner yet! But I've linked her now (Inanna). Check out her site if you haven't already. She's the peach!

I’ve got a lot of things in my head that I want to write down. Since if I put it all together it would make one HUGE post, I’m going to go gang busters off line and post pieces of it. This way the stories will come out on their own. Also, a welcome to Mona! I've linked her blog on my list. It's a very cool site and everyone should check it out.

First up, the story of Tuesday night. I was at my son’s little league game. His team was getting creamed but he was doing pretty good. So in the middle of the 5th inning, I get a call from the Wife. She asks what field we’re on. I think, cool, she wants to come see the rest of the game. The younger boy can’t sit through the games normally but this one was almost over. When she arrived, the Wife was NOT happy.

It turns out she got a call from my mom. My parents decided to take out the rug in their family room and install a hardwood floor. Mind you, being Italian, every other room in the house was either ceramic tile or hardwood, so this was the ONLY room in the house with a rug. But I digress. All the furniture had to be removed from the room, including the TV. So my dad had to watch TV in the 3 season room, in the 90 degree heat with no AC in the room. He was ready for the TV to be back in the family room.

Now, originally, they had called my brother over to hook everything up. They have satellite TV, a DVD, and a VCR. My brother is one of those technoligically challenged individuals. He's great with his hands and can take apart and rebuild a car engine, put anything remotely associated with electronics is out of his league. He had been trying to get everything wired properly and could not. Being a man of no patience, he was quickly swearing at everything and generally being loud and pissed off. So my mom kicked him out and called me.

When my mom found out I was at the game, she told the Wife something to the effect, “Oh, since the game is over at 8:30, that won’t be too late. Vince can still come over, right?” Of course, the Wife, being the wonderful woman that she is, politely said yes and then found me and vented her frustration to me. So I went over to the parent’s house.

It took me all of about 10 minutes to get it all together properly. A couple of quick questions, a quick determination of which of the 2 wires that could be the satellite cable was the correct one, and my parents could again watch RAI Italian television. My mom thanked me profusely and said she should have called me first. To which I agreed. I’m the one that does all the cable hookups for them and programs the VCR. As I said, you need to get the right guy for the job.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Uptight, Sanctimonious Ingrates

Before I get into ranting, a couple of acknowledgements:

1. I must thank the Wife for allowing me to post from home. I will say that I completed all my chores first and gave her all the assistance she required in the making of the freezer jam (my job was to do dishes). It is the most excellent jam I've ever tasted. She makes it fresh each year and it is to DIE for.

2. I'd like to welcome some of my new readers, Tracy, Jamie, and Jude. I've linked your sites on my blog roll and am reading your blogs. Jude, I've just begun to check yours out. Thanks for reading.

Someone was waiting to see how the saga of the missus and I turns out. I think we have a better understanding now - translated, I've got my shit together and am doing my fair share. I've encouraged the little lady to post whatever she feels like saying and to continue to comment. She's not into writing as much as I so I'm sure she won't post as frequently, but Honey, say whatever you like here when you feel the need to say it.

Now, for those of you who wish to see more of the powerful wrath the Wife can inflict on unsuspecting people that post to the internet, please check out this link. It is the message board for, a web support site for parents of children with Autism and PDD (pervasive developmental disorder, the broad range spectrum of which Autism is a part).

As a sort of public service announcement, she posted about our camping retreat weekend, and what a great time it was. She was trying to give some info for other parents that might like a similar program. Boy was she hammered. She emailed me about how upset she was. I read and the blood boiled. I couldn't let this go without posting a rebuttal. Here's some highlights of the entire thread:

My wife mentioned that assistants were assigned to each child for one on one support and that they were college students. Here were two of the replies:

"How long was the orientation tho? I know with my two unless they have specific training in their diagnosis I wouldn't trust them with my two. And Gabe is very high maintenance. It would also depend on what kind of specific training they had too."

"Although I am so glad Zipper & Family had a wonderful time, I wouldnt trust anyone with my kids without really knowing them. And My kids wouldnt go with a stranger without getting to know them first."

There is more. So I left a somewhat flaming reply. A bit of sarcasm mixed with righteous indignation. Here's the next post:

"Well excuse me but my two kids are not appropriate for any day care setting. As far as respite, if you are there, what kind of respite is it? Usually you leave when the respite worker is there or if it is overnight respite the kids are at someone else's house. You said the program has been operating for a few years. I still would't trust it. "

At this point, the Wife chimed back in and had to lay the Smackdown on them all. I'm proud of my little lady. She's usually somewhat mild mannered, but when her dander is up, look out. That's when the fire and acid come out. The moderator of the forum calmed things down after that but it's good stuff.

I'll let the little lady tell her side of the story if she so desires. I'm going to turn in now. I have to do my nightly Scripture reading and maybe find a little time to read a book I checked out of the library on the history of the Masons and it's 11:30. After seeing National Treasure, the whole Mason thing sounded kind of interesting. Good night everyone! (Tucks everyone into bed and kisses them on the head).

On why

Last night I was a little fearful coming home, not knowing whether to expect a large object aimed at my head or not. Luckily, the Wife was not as upset as I thought. However, her post was a big enough smack on the head.

She is indeed correct that I've been spending too much time on the PC at home lately. I have a tendancy to get obsessed occasionally and I fell into that trap. I was neglecting things at home for the sake of my personal enjoyment. While I wasn't getting on line until after the boys went to bed, there are still things I could have been doing instead.

I invited the Wife to contribute to my blog to give her a voice on my site if she cared to use it. I disagree that those that read this blog would not be interested in the things she cares about. I know of at least one reader that has a child with developmental disabilities. Parents of children that have special needs need to stick together.

I have always encouraged the Wife to stick with Liturgy Committee at church. I have my music thing, she deserves her thing. However, since the group shut down for the summer, I'm going to take a few weeks away from it to cut the little lady a break. I can get absorbed in music easily. However, my motivating factor for practicing over the summer is to learn new material for use in the fall. It takes time for a group to build a large repetoire of songs. But that is neither here or there.

I originally set up this blog as an outlet for myself to get out things I wanted to say. My original intention was to use it as a something to do during my lunch hour. I never really expected anyone but a few people I might know would read it. The fact that people I've never met wish to read my thoughts astounds me. I will revert to my original intent and maintain this blog during my lunch hour. I'll still check in on my favorite blogs during that time as well.

Vince has been a bad husband. The Wife is good at reminding me of that. So I'll fix it. My Wife and the kids are the most important thing in my life. I hate it when I disappoint the little lady.

Monday, June 27, 2005


This will be short as I am swamped at work. But I really need to ask why I was invited to contribute to this blog. The unofficial title is "the middle aged guy's version of sex, drugs, and rock & roll". Guess what, I'm not interested in sex, not interested in drugs, and not interested in rock & roll. And I most certainly am NOT a middle-aged guy. So for those of you out there who are interested in what is normally posted here, my posts would be thoroughly boring. I don't care for sex, so there would be no mention of that here. Most of my comments would be about developmental disabilities and how they affect our kids and our family as a whole. Not really interesting material for most of you, especially those who aren't familiar with abbreviations such as PDD-NOS, ADHD, ASD, SID, and the like. He likes Queen, I like the Mills Brothers, Nat King Cole, and Rik Emmett. He likes to play guitar, I am so sick of hearing guitar strings being tuned I'm ready to throw one out of the window. He's spending so much time at church now with his rock band, that I'm ready to give up my 2 hours a month on Liturgy Committee just because ONE of us needs to be home.
Yes, I'm pissed. I'm pissed that he manages to find time for this useless crap but not the important stuff.
Sorry if I pissed anyone off, but that's just the mood I'm in today.

Rock stars as activists

Don't have much to talk about today so I thought I'd mention the interview I saw last night. Bono was on Meet the Press discussing the Live 8 concert coming up. Now, normally, I really thing rock stars should shut the hell up and concentrate on making music. They're usually not well enough informed to be influencing politics. That and the whole Hollywood thing. Celebrities don't really impress me and they're opinions carry about the same wieght as my cat's. Just because you make a lot of money making movies doesn't make you qualified to discuss how to eliminate the national debt.

However, listening to Bono, he was extremely well informed. He took a very pragmatic approach to his cause, how to improve the situation in Africa. He wasn't spouting some idealistic pie in the sky program. He was trying to get the G8 nations to give more money in a better manner to make sure aid got to those that needed it and not just to corrupt politicians. Instead of attacking major world leaders, he was praising what they'd done so far and asking them to go further. He was particularly appreciative of Bush's efforts, which surprised me. He was well spoken and passionate, but didn't revert to name calling or criticizing, as may rock stars tend to do.

So hat's off to at least one musician that dares to break the mold and actually know what he's talking about.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

No scabs allowed

At the risk of getting my ass kicked by the Wife, we had a bit of a situation at the house the last few days. It appears the maid went on strike. It all began with my wife beginning the clean the kitchen on Monday night. She had just started doing dishes. It was getting late and I wanted to get lunches made for the next day, as that is my job. Our island in the kitchen was full of papers and hadn't been cleaned in a few days (my wife likes the counter to be clean and for me to use a cutting board to minimize the spread of germs).

Anyway, I did not wish to wait for the island to be clean and proceeded to make sandwiches without a cutting board (but not cutting on the counter top mind you). I was making PBJ sandwiches for the Wife and kids so to me, no big deal. The wife reminded me that she hadn't cleaned the counter yet to which I replied that I was aware that she had not. This is when The Strike began.

She walked away from the kitchen, water still in the sink, dishes on the counter. And there they remained until last night. Water still in the sink and everything. Now, before all the judgemental stuff starts (and before I get wacked with a heavy object upon getting home), I must say that the fact that the dishes needed to be done and that the countertop was not clean was not what bothered me. My wife does a good job of keeping the kitchen neat overall and we never run out of clean dishes or cookware. My problem was the island.

It has become the repository of every item of paper we collect. Everyone has a "crap pile", you know, magazines you haven't looked at yet, important papers to review, drawings the kids made you want to save, that sort of thing. Well, our island was covered with papers to the point that I only had an area about 6 inches by 6 inches to work on. And I was tired of it looking that way.

Mind you, the Wife certainly would have made everything neat and wiped down the counter, but we still would have piles of paper on the island. When we moved in, it was my intent that the island would not be used as the location of our "crap pile". I bought some nice stackable trays to put on our desks to help us organize all the stuff. But alas, they are too far from the kitchen and the kitchen table, where most of the document reviewing process takes place. Therefore, things ended up on the island.

To continue, the Wife was kind enough to inform me yesterday evening that "The maid is on strike". I did explain to her what I said above and reiterated that I never thought she did not keep a clean kitchen. I was only tired of all the papers on the island (BTW, I did clean everything off of the island on Monday while we were busy ignoring each other). I think we came to a better understanding. I am looking for an alternate method of storing papers that would allow easy access in the kitchen and yet still keep them off of the island. The Wife suggeted hanging folders. As we have a pantry immediately off the kitchen, I thought it would be a perfect location for such an organizational tool. It has the advantage of not blocking traffic flow through the kitchen or back hallway.

So, the strike has been resolved, a new understanding negotiated, and the business of maintaining the Franco household once again has resumed. We are now preparing for Strawberry season and the making of the strawberry freezer jam. The little lady will most likely go picking with our younger son tomorrow. It is normally a family affair, but the older son has a makeup baseball game which I just found out about tonight at our regular game. As the berries are in season, waiting is not advised. The boys LOVE mom's freezer jam and I must also admit it's the best tasting jam I've ever had (better even than my mom's). So I look forward to a new batch as last year's was used up over a month ago.

If I don't post anything for the next few business days I will most likely be recovering from a concussion suffered from "accidentally" intersecting my skull with a heavy object that might possiblby been in the possesion of the Wife for being the insensitve "man" that I can be. Love you Dear!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Latest for your consideration

I've got nothing really to talk about so I thought I would throw this out for discussion. Is it sexist to give better customer service to someone based on their appearance? Let me be more specific if I can.

In general, I've found that when working with women, I tend to go out of my way more and give better customer service to those women that are attractive. Now, by this, I don't mean I don't provide the same level of professionalism with other women, but I might spend more time on a problem if the woman is attractive, take extra time to explain the problem, or just chat more while I'm working on the problem for them. (In case you're not aware, my team is the help desk and handles all PC issues.)

Regardless of who the person is, I'll keep digging at a problem until it is solved. I never treat any user as stupid (at least I try as hard as I can, we're all human after all). For example, if someone is having trouble getting something done in excel, I'll work with them until they understand and can do it on their own.

However, yesterday for example, we needed to install software on 2 PCs. I decided I would do one install and one of my techs would do the other. The two personnel were male and female, and the female is a nice red headed gal recently out of college (a couple of years). I decided I would install the software on her machine. Why? Because she's a cute red head. I dropped by this morning, got the application running, had her test it to make sure it worked, and moved on to the next thing. So was I a sexist pig or just a typical guy?

I will say in concluding that any person that has a good disposition and is fun to work with will get very good customer service from me. Additionally, any supervisor above a certain level will get as much of my attention as they need. Also true for human resources personnel. This is because I've found that if you keep certain people happy, when it comes time that you need a favor or if there is a problem, you've got some points stored in the bank. Call it politics if you like, but there's times those relationships pay off. I don't do it in a way that looks like I'm sucking up, I just make sure that when they really have a problem, my team respsonds well. I also take thier complaints seriously, even if they seem stupid on the surface.

Anyway, I look forward to hearing what you think.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Our weekend retreat

Here are a couple of photos from our camping trip this weekend.

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Above is us with our assistant, Sal.

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The boys with their safari hats.

The rest of the pictures can be found on our Ofoto site, go to HERE view them.

The boys had a great time. The theme was Safari (as if you can't tell). It was a program for families with children with disablities. It was a time where the kids could do fun things with the help of an assistant and parents would get some respite time to attend seminars or do whatever they want. It was a fairly relaxing weekend.

We stayed at a great cabin over the weekend. It was fully equiped with a kitchen and TV (not that we ever had a chance to use either). Most importantly, we had our own bathroom and shower. The boys got to sleep in bunk beds and we took the loft. Overall it was a great weekend. The boys did crafts, went swimming (even thought it was only 65 degrees outside), played miniature golf, and generally just had fun. There was a little rain but it didn't dampen the weekend at all. I'll have captions on the pictures on Ofoto that will better describe what's going on.

We hope to go back next year and stay a few extra days at the camp site. We had that much fun.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Relationship songs just for you!

All right, I promise that this is the last post I make before going on my trip with the family. As I was mowing the lawn today, it occurred to me that many of the blogs I read deal with relationship issues. It then struck me that I’ve written a pair of songs that might be for comfort and/or help to those with some of these issues. So I thought I would post the lyrics.

The first song is called Remember When. I wrote it about the first love of my life. I like to say when I play this live that the original title was Die Bitch Die, but it’s not really true. The song is dedicated to those of you out there that have had your hearts broken. Perhaps I’ll post about the gal I wrote this for one day. The music is reminiscent of Zepplin’s Over the Hills and Far Away.

The second song is called Beg and Plead. It is an instructional song for all you guys out there that want to have a long relationship with your girlfriend or wife (or your girlfriend’s wife, or wife’s girlfriend, or whatever). The song is pretty self explanatory. It’s kind of a country rock/early Rolling Stones groove. I’m considering making both of these songs bonus tracks on my CD project as they’re complete but need to be mixed down.


Ok, here they are:



Young and in love, starry eyed

Said you’d love me until we died

Never thought you’d make me cry

And I can’t believe we’ve said good-bye


I said I love you, this can’t be true

You were my whole life, don’t say we’re through

You’ve found another to be with you

I wish you’d tell me what did I make you leave me


I remember when we thought it would never end

Sometimes every now and then I remember when


You wouldn’t see me, or take my calls

I was behind you, never there at all

I tried to reach you, get inside your walls

But you just ignored me from your horse so tall




It’s been a long time, the pain is gone

I’ve found another to call my own

She is my whole life and I am hers

I can’t believe how good my luck has turned


Sometimes I wonder, where did you go

I was so busy, caught in the flow

You must have your life and I have mine

Do you think of me from time to time


I remember when we thought we would still be friends

If we could meet again we’d remember when


Verse 1

I get home at 2am and I’ve been drinking with my friends

You’re still waiting for me by the door

I look at you and try to smile but you’re still frowning all the while

And I know who that rolling pin is for


But I just want to go to bed and have you love me once again

So I recite the married man’s refrain

Yes dear, no dear, you’re so right dear

Please calm down cause I don’t want to fight

It’s all my fault dear, I’m so sorry

I don’t want to beg and plead tonight

Verse 2

Now I’ve been working hard all day at a company that barely pays

When I get home I just want to relax

But you’ve been stuck home with our sons and all the housework don’t get done

If I don’t help you’ll hit me with an ax


Verse 3

Now I’ve been playing with my band and you tell me it’s out of hand

But just like to play on my guitar

You tell me “You got a job stop being such a lazy slob

That music thing won’t get you very far.”


See you Monday - UPDATED!

Tomorrow the family is going on a camping weekend. There's a program called Wellness GIFTS (website) that provides a camping weekend for kids with disabilities and respite for thier families. While I don't consider my younger son "disabled", I think it would be a great experience for him and welcome relief for the Wife and I. Our older son should have lots of fun too. They're really looking forward to sleeping in bunk beds.

I try to post pictures on Monday for the good stuff. Have fun everyone and don't do anything I wouldn't while I'm gone!

For your amusement while I'm gone, this list is from my good pal P. #5 is my favorite.


1. I can see your point, but I still think you’re full of shit.
2. I don’t know what your problem is, but I’ll bet it’s hard to pronounce.
3. How about never? Is never good for you?
4. I see you’ve set aside this special time to humiliate yourself in public.
5. I’m really easy to get along with once you people learn to see it my way.
6. I’ll try being nicer if you’ll try being smarter.
7. I’m out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message…
8. I don’t work here. I’m a consultant.
9. It sounds like English, but I can’t understand a word you’re saying.
10. Ahhh… I see the screw-up fairy has visited us again…
11. I like you. You remind me of when I was young and stupid.
12. You are validating my inherent mistrust of strangers.
13. I have plenty of talent and vision. I just don’t give a damn.
14. I’m already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth.
15! . I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you.
16. Thank you. We’re all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view.
17. The fact that no one understands you doesn’t mean you’re an artist.
18. Any connection between your reality and mine is purely coincidental.
19. What am I? Flypaper for freaks!?
20. I’m not being rude. You’re just insignificant.
21. It’s a thankless job, but I’ve got a lot of Karma to burn off.
22. Yes, I am an agent of Satan, but my duties are largely ceremonial.
23. And your crybaby whiny-butt opinion would be…?
24. Do I look like a people person?
25. This isn’t an office. It’s Hell with fluorescent lighting.
26. I started out with nothing & still have most of it left.
27. Sarcasm is just one more service we offer.
28. If I throw a stick, will you leave?
29. Errors have been made. Others will be blamed.
30. Whatever kind of look you were going for, you missed.
31. I’m trying to im! agine you with a personality.
32. A cubicle is just a padded cell without a door.
33. Can I trade this job for what’s behind door #1?
34. Too many freaks, not enough circuses.
35. Nice perfume. Must you marinate in it?
36. Chaos, panic and disorder - my work here is done.
37. How do I set a laser printer to stun?
38. I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted paychecks.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Don't make me smack you

All right, it's time for some indignation. I read this story this morning and was immediately annoyed and nearly insensed. Here's the long and short. Someone writes a children's book called King and King about a boy who meets his perfect prince. That's right, it's a story about a gay couple. It teaches tolerance and that people can be different. It's purchased by many PUBLIC libraries, including one in Lousiana. A kid brings the book home and guess what? Of course, the parents are outraged. This sort of thing shouldn't be in a library. Not SCHOOL library mind you, but PUBLIC library.

Now, a state representative in Louisiana wrote a resolution urging librarians to keep books with gay content away from kids. Due to the same controversy, in Oklahoma, they've introduces a bill to quote, "confine homosexually themed books and other age-inappropriate material to areas exclusively for adult access and distribution." Further, quoting from ABC News, "Last month, the U.S. Congress got involved. Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., proposed legislation that would require states to form local parental advisory boards to weigh in on all new library books and non-textbook school books or risk losing federal funding."

OK, what the fuck people? Are we so closed minded and afraid of homosexuality that we need to start censoring our libraries? Yes, let's put children's books in the adult section. It makes so much sense. And let's let parent's groups decide what libraries should carry. Because before you know it, they'll be banning Harry Potter because it's Satanic and Catcher in the Rye because a character says fuck. Or banning Robert Heinlein because his characters are too sexy. Or Othello because a black character is evil and causes a white guy pain just for fun.

Where does it end? Are people so afraid to tell their kids other people are different? If my 9 year old brought up the subject, I'd explain it to him gently without getting into the sex thing. You know, there are different kinds of families. Some with a mom and dad, some with two moms or two dads. You can get into the morality if it later if it's an issue. Or at least read the book first and decide whether the story is appropriate. What's the problem, you can't answer your kids questions? Are these people so insecure in their sexuality that having their kids learn about it scares them?

I just don't get it. And censorship in general really pisses me off. Call me a pinko commie liberal or something, but we have freedom of speach in this country. If your concerned about the books your kid gets from the library - GO THERE WITH HIM. You know, approve the books ahead of time. In other words, BE A PARENT, not just the person who knows where your kid is.

Ok, I'm done for now. You may resume with your regular programming.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Threat level reduced

Thanks to the unbelievable ministrations of my totally hot and sexy wife, I have gone from Obsessed with her to Infatuated. This means I've gone from thinking about having sex with her all the time to only when she's around. Sex is now not required, but optional. Should optional sex occur, the level would be reduced to Satisfied, where I only think about sex if we're in bed together. Sex is now nice if neither of us are tired or otherwise not in the mood. Should nice sex occur, the level would be reduced to asleep, where sex only occurs in my dreams (literally, not figuratively). No real sex is required nor requested at this point.

I must again extole the amazingness of the little lady. I am a lucky man indeed to be wed to such a wonderous beauty as she. Words cannot describe and my pitiful attempts to praise her do not do her justice. She just Rocks!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Wedding and baseball

Had an interesting day Saturday. My wife's neice got married in North Carolina last week. She came home and we had a reception for her Saturday. A small affair planned by my wife's brother. It was interesting in the choice of guests. The couple wanted a small affair for some friends and family. Well, the only family invited were cousins. None of my wife's aunts and uncles were invited. Additionally, it appears that only cousins on my wife's dad's side of the family were there. Both of us were a little put off by this. Is it just me or does it seem a little rude to only invite a part of the family to a wedding reception? It probably wouldn't have been a lot more people (perhaps 40 more). If money was an issue, then they needn't have worried. There was enough food left over to feed at least that amount.

Now, don't get me wrong. I really like my brother in law and sister in law. They're good people and thier kids are very responsible people. Maybe it's just the Italian in me but it just seems that for a family event you either invite the whole family or you don't. Inviting part of the family is just asking for trouble.

After the reception (actually before it ended), I went with my older son to a baseball game. We have a minor league team in Rochester. It was also a sleepover. Every year the Boy Scouts pick a night and camp out on the baseball field after the game. We got there and about 20 minutes before the game is supposed to start, it starts pouring. It rained for maybe 15 minutes. My son was concerned the sleepover would be cancelled, as even after the rain stopped it was unclear whether the game would happen. The ground crew got the field ready to go and we got the game in, starting about 90 minutes late.

One thing I like about minor league baseball. While the crew was getting the field ready, players were hanging around the dugout. We had great season tickets my wife got from work, right behind the visitor dugout. Players were leaning agains the wall by the field talking to fans. My son got 3 autographs on his glove. Players were happy to sign for all the kids and adults that requested one. We didn't get over to the home team side but both teams were doing it. I can't see that happening in the major leagues. Can you imagine Derick Jeter signing autographs for fans like that, or chatting with people in the first couple of rows? I doubt it. The only way you'd get his autograph is to pay admission to some even he's at, buy a ball at the event, then pay to get his signature. It ain't right people.

The game was great, though our team team lost, 13-5. Since my son is now on the travel baseball team, we were critiquing the players, figuring out where the play was, and I pointed out where players made errors when they didn't use the fundamental skills he was learning. It always makes me laugh when professional players forget the absolute basics of the game.

The game ended about 12:30 am. We then went out of the park and got our camping gear while the grounds crew prepared the outfield. They had to mark the sprinkler heads so we didn't drive stakes in them. We got on the field and set up our tent by about 1:30. They also started a movie on the jumbotron (The Incredibles). We played catch for about a half hour, until one of my son's friends got hit in the face with a ball. We decided it was time to turn in. Of course, by the time the movie ended and all the lights went out, it must have been about 3 am. And we need to be out of the park by 7 am to prepare it for the Sunday afternoon game. We were working on about 2-3 hours sleep.

We got up around 6:30, got out of there, went home, and promptly went back to bed. I got up around 11:30 and we woke up my son at about noon. He fell asleep immediately on the couch. I don't know why they call these things sleepovers, since sleep seems to be in short supply. However, it was a good time. It would have been more fun if the game started on time as we would have had more time to do things on the field, but hey, can't have them all.

We're going on a family camping trip this weekend. It's not really "camping" as we are staying in a cabin with real beds and a small kitchen, but it is at a camp ground. It's a special weekend for children with "disabilities" for them to have fun and for parents to get a break. The probram is called Wellness GIFTS. It looks like a good time. I'll let everyone know next week how it went and post a picture or two.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Georgia on my mind

Actually, it's the Wife on my mind. For about the last week or so I've got sex on the brain. Specifically, sex with the Wife on the brain. Not just your normal "guy wants sex all the time kind of thing". I don't know what it is lately. It's not like I'm not getting enough loving from the little lady (again, not counting the whole guy-wants-sex-all-the-time thing). But lately every time I look at her I want to carry her up the stairs and throw her on the bed.

Perhaps its because the weather has been really warm and there's more skin around. Plenty of ladies running around in shorts and tank tops. I'm a real leg and shoulder kind of guy, so that's a plus for me. For example, the Wife wore said shorts and tank top just yesterday and she was SOOOO HOT! (Sigh). It's a burden sometimes having such a gorgeous babe knockout for a wife.

I can't expect her to romp in bed every night. After all, that would leave her too tired to do the laundry, clean the house, make my dinner, take care of the kids, and mow the lawn while I read the paper and sip a cool drink. Actually, it's more the other way around. We're both so busy with housework, kids activities, and life in general that we seldom got to bed at the same time and when we do, one of both of us is too pooped to pop. The Wife's custom is to usually fall asleep in her chair between 10 and 11 pm. If this happens, the average time she comes to bed is around 12:30 - 1 am. I'm out like a light by then.

So I suffer in silence and patiently await the right moment when we're both in bed at the same time and we both have a few ounces of engery to spare. Again, it is such a burden having a hot wife. Hot ladies out there, how do your husbands handle it? Are they too going insane with desire for you? Do they forgo even looking at other women because they pale in comparison to your radience?

Seriously for a moment, the day I knew that I should marry my wife was the day I realized that I was no longer interested in other women. I did and still do find other women attractive, but I have no desire to have more that a friendship with them and absolutely no desire to sleep with them. Sixteen years later, that hasn't changed. I'm hooked, kids, hooked. Even if I'm upset with her, one look at her or one touch, and I can't stay angry without really working at it. One nice kiss, and forget it. I'm done. I can't stay upset at her for very long about anything if she's around me.

Anway, to completely change the subject, another busy weekend ahead. Today my Wife went to school for our older boy's Author's Tea (they did a story book and parents got to read them and have cookies), and I went on a zoo field trip with the younger boy. I'll post a picture or two Monday. Tomorrow consists of art lessons for the older boy, wedding reception for my Wife's neice (got married last week in North Carolina), and baseball game/cub scout sleepover on the ball field. I've checked my calendar and the only Saturday I have free the rest of the summer is July 2. My summer is done and it hasn't even started yet.

No get some rest all of you. Make sure you get tucked in by someone you love and sleep tight. Good night!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Vince is...

Many thanks to Brighton for this link to Googlisms. I gave it a shot and here's my favorites that came up:

vince is walking on water (because I rule)
vince is so popular (don't you wish you were me?)
vince is mad (only slightly mad)
vince is nice (thanks!)
vince is important (duh)
vince is a freak (I'm a super freak baby)
vince is perty sharp ain't he (yes I am)
vince is the best (you better believe it)
vince is the kind of actor who reminds one why there are movie stars in the first place (so where's my oscar?)
vince is receiving rave reviews for his guitar work and vocals (please, just throw money)
vince is an application that allows the user to choose which applications are set as helpers for internet protocols (I'm so versitile)
vince is on the ground in front of the bus then the answer will depend on just how fast 'really really fast' is for the bus and just how high 'really really (really really what?)
vince is playing lately (and my wife hates it)
vince is committed to raising teacher salaries (they all deserve more money)
vince is committed to supporting his community (I'm a team player man)
vince is into all types of music (except country and rap)
vince is someone who has made himself a billionaire by playing on our eagerness to know the con while we're falling for it (so how come the assests are frozen in my bank?)
vince is the one (that's right)
vince is a lot better looking than any of the savanna monitors which were at the show (monitors are just ucking fugly compared to me)
vince is only 23 (sure, lets go with that)
vince is an award winning speaker (just not the awards peopel covet)
vince is being followed by a muscle man (I think he likes my ass)
vince is now inundated with love (:basks in the radiance:)
vince is back ( black)
vince is director and program manager for an intel (I wish)
vince is a keen and efficient writer (just look at my concise posts)
vince is now banned from the oven and stove (Cool - now the wife has to cook!)
vince is currently recording his first solo album (That is indeed correct)
vince is also up for three tnn music awards (I said I hate country. I wish they'd stop nominating me)
vince is proudly supported by the san diego/ imperial county labor council (and I thank them greatly)
vince is a young (young what?)
vince is involved in many community organizations and has continually participated in charity events (I'm all about helping the people)
vince is the other guitarist in wave invasion (cool!)
vince is not a republican (Thank God)
vince is an internationally accomplished composer (music is my life)
vince is a smart man (of course)
vince is saying (you know, I' just saying)

And to sum it all up:

vince is just that incredible

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Birth of Boy 2 - Updated by the Wife

Since I wrote about the birth of my first boy, it’s only fair to write about the birth of my second boy. Boy 2 was a definite OOPS baby, meaning he wasn’t “planned”. By that, I mean we had begun talking about having another baby but not seriously. He was conceived on Valentines Day. I know this for a fact since it’s the only day we had sex the 3 weeks before and after. No comments from the peanut gallery. I’ve discovered that the Wife has the uncanny knack of getting knocked up REALLY easy, so we take extra precautions now.

Anyway, this pregnancy was a lot like with the first. She gained right around 30 pounds. If I remember correctly, the second boy thought her spleen was a soccer ball. Her due date was right around Halloween. The night before Halloween (a Friday night that year). We attended a party at a friend’s apartment. The Wife had been having contractions on and off, nothing regular, kind of far apart. Since our friend’s sister was a nurse, we joked about having the baby on our friends couch. She was not amused.

The next morning, the Wife was having stronger contractions on and off and they were getting annoying. She stated that if they didn’t become regular by 9 am, we were calling the doctor to induce her or something. However, my 9 am, they were indeed regular. We called the doctor, who agreed that we should come in to the hospital, dropped of boy #1 with my parents, and headed to the hospital. By the time we got there, she was about 6 cm dilated.

Everything actually went very smooth this time. No horror stories to report. She still had the contraction from hell when the doctor broke her water with the crochet hook, but this time, her regular doctor was there and they warned her ahead of time. She pushed for a little under an hour. She remembered to breathe this time. And even though I was still along for the ride (aren’t men really, no matter how supportive?), this time I tried to be more encouraging and kept her in a steady supply of ice chips.

Boy number 2 was born on Halloween. I’m still deciding if he’s a trick or treat. My mom was not outside the door the moment he was born and brought our older son to meet his brother later that day. I would also like to report that my wife worked the Friday before each child was born. None of this going on maternity leave 3 weeks early stuff for her. She’s too tough for that.

Sorry the story wasn’t as exciting as the first kid, but we pretty much had the drill down after the first one.

UPDATE: From The Wife (thanks hon!) - I also want to post kudos for the kids in our neighborhood. Since we were out at a party the night before, we left the front light on, and forgot to turn it off. So here's the house with the front light on, and no one's home, and it's Halloween. I'm sure there were some disappointed kids at our door, and I apologize to them. But our house was not vandalized at all - not even soap on the windows! Thanks kids!

Just Rambling

I’ve had a weird kind of day. There’s a bunch of things going through my head so bear with me if it’s a little stream of consciousness typing. I’m going to type like I normally talk, which is starting to say something in the middle of a thought so no one knows what the hell I’m talking about but me. Anyway, I started off thinking about whether I should post more intimate stories, meaning stuff that only my wife knows about. It’s probably some interesting reading for those that don’t know me, but since I know for a fact that some people that do know me are lurking out there, I’m not sure I want them to know some of that stuff. Too personal, and once some of these images get in your head, they won’t come out. It would feel good to vent some feelings and just let it all fly, but I know that by doing so I could potentially hurt the feelings of those close to me, so I probably shouldn’t. Anyway, it’s kind of like trying to find a direction in your writing. Am I really just rambling and musing, or am I really try to say something? Why did I start this blog anyway? I think it was just to put my thoughts out there in the ether and see what happens. Now, however, I actually have an audience of sorts, and have joined a community of bloggers. Now it’s kind of like calling your friends to catch up. Writing this blog has become something different from when I started.

So on the drive home, I’m trying to think about what I could post. I thought I would talk about how lately, I’ve been feeling rather contented with life in general. I’m busy as hell, I have the normal frustrations and challenges of anyone with a wife and kids, but in general, I don’t feel like life sucks. Then I got home. My wife was upset since she was going out to a work meeting/dinner thing and had gotten dirt on the pants she wanted to wear. Suddenly I’m getting frustrated with the kids and yelling and being miserable. Then my younger boy used the toilet all by himself without prompting, only the 2nd time he’s done so. Mind you he’s 6 and has PDD-NOS (basically autism). Any anger I had at him melted away with pride for his accomplishment (and relief that maybe now we’ve turned the corner on this. Which I now probably jinxed.) Anyway, so then things are good for a while, then my mom comes over (right at bed time) so now when she leaves I’m yelling at the kids again because they don’t want to go to bed. Real yo-yo kind of day.

However, now that the boys are in bed and I can calm down again, the feeling of contentment is back. I’ve got the lovely wife nearby (wearing a short little skirt that makes her look SOOO fine!), the boys are tucked in, and I’m ready to face tomorrow.

So where was I going with all this? I don’t know really. Maybe I just like the sound of my voice, or the look of my words on the page. I’m going to relax now. Don’t want the woman to think I’m ignoring her.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

New motto

My wife was looking at an autism site last night and showed me the 10 Commandments for Parents of Handicapped Children. Not that I consider my son handicapped or anything. However, one of them really struck me. It says in full: Answer only to your conscience: then you'll be able to answer to your child. You need not justify your actions to your friends or the public.

When I was around 12 or 13 (7th grade), I made a conscious decision that I was going to be a unique person and try to go my own way. I've never really been concerned what others think about me. The above statement pretty much says it all. I've ammeded it thus: Answer only to your conscience. You need not justify your actions to your friends or the public. Granted, the tricky part is to inform your conscience to make good decisions. But the underlying statement says it all for me. I've never felt the need to justify my actions to any both those closest to me, and I don't plan on changing.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Welcoming Boy Number 1

The Wife and her Basketball

The above picture is of my wife the day before she gave birth to our first son. That’s right, less than 12 hours prior. She gained right around 30 pounds with each child and carried them like little basketballs in her tummy. Before I begin, the obligatory disclaimer: If any facts are incorrect, I apologize to the Wife in advance. It’s been 9 years, I may miss a detail or two.

The birth of our first child did not go as we had expected. We went to the obligatory child birthing class to learn to breath and all that good stuff. Fat good it did, as you will see. My wife went into labor somewhere in the wee hours of a Sunday morning. All I know is she woke me at around 4am. She thinks labor started around 2 am. I believe I asked something to the effect of “What’s going on?” She yelled back, “What do you think's going on!” My mind wasn’t quite up to speed yet as we’d gone to bed sometime after midnight. As a side note to any pregnant or thinking of being so, an orgasm is a really good method of inducing labor when you’re close to your due date and are tired of carrying your precious bundle of joy.

I called the doctor and told him the contractions were less than 3 minutes apart. It was a little difficult to get that information as my wife was crawling on the floor moaning in pain very loudly. The doctor agreed we should go to the hospital. I drove her in and they put her in one of the maternity “triage” rooms, where they check you out and figure out how far along you are. She was 6 centimeters dilated. She was definitely in labor. They put one of those belts around her to measure the contractions and get the frequency. Tip to first time fathers, when you see this big spike on the machine, don’t tell your wife/girlfriend, “Wow, that looked like a really strong contraction!”. She’s liable to rip your nipples off. Needless to say, that comment didn’t go over well.

At this point, my wife wanted drugs, preferably an epidural. When we asked the nurse about it, she said they’d have to put a bag of fluids in my wife. I had presence of mind enough to ask how long that would take. The answer was 30 minutes. My wife practically cried and said “I can’t wait that long!”. They went ahead and started the bag of fluids. By the time it was empty, she was 10 centimeters dilated, meaning it was basically time to push. That meant she couldn’t get the epidural any longer. That’s right people, she delivered that baby with no drugs. (Qualifier right here, I know we discussed her taking Nubane (sp?), a milder drug for the pain, but I can’t remember if they actually used it or not. Help with that hon?).

Since she was 10 centimeters, the doctor came in. Her regular doctor told here he’d be available for delivery any day that weekend except for Sunday. So of course she had the baby on Sunday. The on call doctor we thought she would get was also unavailable as well so we got this guy we never met before. Since her water hadn’t broken yet, he grabbed the crochet hook and broke it for her. The problem was he neglected to tell her he was doing it. Next thing you know, she’s really wet. The other problem was that once her water broke, she got the contraction from hell. You know, the kind that makes you stand up in the stirrups. At this point, the moved her to a wheelchair to go to the delivery room. Problem is, she started needing to push the second they got her in the chair. You never saw nurses move so fast!

One thing I forgot to mention, shortly before they broke her water, my wife was having trouble with the pain of contractions. For all the birthing classes we took, all I could do was stand there with my mouth hanging open. It took a nurse to grab my wife’s face with both hands and tell her to breath. After that, I think she relaxed a little.

Once we got in the delivery room, it went pretty smooth. She pushed for about an hour, and out popped our beautiful little boy. I will note, however, that the doctor that delivered our son was a hack. He had the worst bedside manner and caused my wife more recovery time than she probably needed. She tore during the delivery before the episiotomy and then he cut her too much. In contrast, with our second boy, her regular doctor did the delivery and stretched her out during the delivery so she didn’t need the episiotomy. (I know, too much information).

In total, the labor and delivery lasted about 6 hours. My wife did ALL the work and I really was along for the ride on this one. Total space cadet. I did much better with the second one. One last note. I called my mom and my wife’s mom when we went to the hospital to let them know the baby was on the way. I told them we’d call after the baby was born. Our son was born right around 8:30 in the morning. Literally minutes after the birth, the nurse announces there’s someone at the door that would like to come in if we didn’t mind. It was my mom. She’d shown up about 7:30 and was waiting. Italian moms just don’t listen.

Update: The little lady corrected most of my mistakes, and I've made the corrections. I'll use her words for the last ones, as it is easier: The hack broke my water just before the epidural incident. They both happened at about 8 cm. The doctor who agreed to give me the epidural was nice.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Happy Anniversary

Yesterday (Friday) was our anniversary (not looking for congrats from everyone, just saying). We've been married 16 years and have been together for 22 years. I got the little lady a nice set of pearl earings (5mm ball) which she hinted for me to get. She got me a panini maker. In case you don't know what that is, it's a grill, kind of like a Forman grill. You use it to make toasted sandwiches. It's the coolest gift ever. Back in my Navy days, I was hooked on something called a Smash Sandwich while in Toulon, France. Basically, it's grilled chuck steak, which is then placed in French bread with some veggies and spices, then flattened in the panini maker until it's about the width of a quarter, well, maybe 2 quarters on top of each other. Incredibly thin, and heaven on a bun. I must now perfect the recipe! Can't wait to try the thing out.

Today my older son tried out for the travel baseball team in our town. I was concerned he might not make it since many of the other kids are better players. There were 15 slots open, and 15 kids showed up, so he's on the team! I'm not sure what I'm in for but he's in for a lot of baseball. One of the other dad's at the tryouts was a person that lived on my street and whom I'd grown up with. We were friends as kids but stopped hanging out by high school. We both agreed that when we were growing up, our parents would never have gone in for something like this for us because it was too much bother for them (the parents that is). Just yesteday I mentioned to my parents that the older one was trying out and my dad tried to discourage me. He mentioned I'd spend all of my time running around taking him to games all over the county. You know what? Big fucking deal. When I was a kid, I didn't get to try a lot of the things I really wanted to do because it was too much bother for my parents. I don't want my kids to grow up and not at least had the opportunity to try new things. For all I know, next year my son will hate baseball. But at least he'll know that if he wants to try something different, my wife and I will support what he does.

For me, the important thing is that he has fun playing baseball. When he gets older, he'll remember that we showed up to see him play, not the score of the game or how he did that season.

On another note, my younger son that is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, had a breakthrough moment of sorts today. He's been having "toileting issues". Today, he went to the bathroom on his own without prompting and sat long enough to use the toilet. We were very proud of him and gave him many accolades. He also earned a star. If he earns 10 stars (for using the toilet on his own), he'll get to go to Target and pick out a Star Wars lego set. He's been obsessing with Star Wars lately. Since he's only 6, we've let him see the original trilogy but I won't let him see the latest 3. Episodes 1 and 2 have some disturbing images, what with people getting cut in half and decaptiated. There's absolutely no way either of my boys are seeing Episode 3 until they're older. WAY to much violence for a kid their age.

More stories starting on Monday (hopefully). Since I've related a sad story in the death of my cousin, next one is going to be on the birth of my first son. There's much comedy now that 9 years have passed. Some of it wasn't so funny then (at least, not to my wife when I did it). Have a good Sunday out there.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

My stories, first in a new series

I’ve been thinking lately (I know, I shouldn’t do that) and I’ve decided there’s some good stories of my family and me that I should relate. Some may be funny, some not, but I’m going to take some time to put them out there.

The first is about my cousin Lina. She’s the one that died over the weekend. Technically she’s my cousin’s wife, but in Italian families you don’t make that distinction. Lina was my cousin’s second wife. The first marriage broke up after he found his wife (my other first cousin, and yes, it’s what you think if you work it out carefully) was cheating on him. Once the divorce was final, he went back to Italy for a while, met Lina, and within a year they were married.

When Lina first came to the US, she didn’t really make a good impression. She was brash, opinionated, wore too much lipstick (always left some on your cheek when you kissed her), and seemed to be jealous of everyone else’s success. My family stopped talking to her for a few years because of it. However, her husband opened a very successful restaurant and all that stuff was forgotten. Eventually, we acted like a normal family.

My brother was close with Lina and her husband, since he ate at their restaurant at least once per week. Once she was diagnosed with cancer about 7 years ago, my dad would drive her to her doctor’s appointments while her husband tended the restaurant. We began getting together for family occasions. She was quite sociable and very funny and witty. She still had strong opinions, but was willing to see your side of an argument and agree to disagree. Mostly, she was just plain funny when she told a story.

She and her husband had 2 children, a daughter then a son. I always kind of considered them spoiled brats. They always had good clothes, drove nice cars, and basically got whatever they wanted. My opinion changed yesterday when her daughter got up to give the eulogy. To begin with, I don’t know if I could have done it at all if it was my mother. She gave a wonderful eulogy, told great stories of her mother, and said she wants to be just like her. She had so much poise, I was impressed. My first thought was that I hope my boys grow up to be such good adults. Even though Lina gave her kids all the material things they could desire, she still gave them the proper values.

Though I didn’t see her often, I’m going to miss her. She joins many of my other relatives and friends that were gone too soon. I may relate those stories as well in the coming posts, but I don’t want to focus on them. For Lina, I think her daughter said it best. She said she was at peace because her mother was no longer in pain. I, too, am glad she’s no longer in pain. Her daughter asked that everyone have a glass of wine in honor of her mother and to make a toast to her. Lina would have wanted us to do that instead of mourn for her. Last night my wife and I did just that. The next time any of you have a glass of wine, raise it for Lina and all those that we have lost and are now in peace, and remember the good times you had.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

In Memorium

Rafaelina Tartaglia
Sept 24, 1961 - May 29, 2005
In loving memory
May you find Christ's peace in His arms